BOYS SOCCER: Stoney Creek prevails in shootout over Adams to win ‘District of Death’ |
BY DAN STICKRADT
ROCHESTER HILLS — A shootout is a guessing game. For Rochester Stoney Creek’s Matt Houghton, he guessed right on the money.
The senior goalkeeper dove to his left to stop Rochester Adams’ fifth shooter of a shootout Saturday afternoon, helping the Cougars register a 2-1 victory over rival Rochester Adams in a Division 1 district final at Rochester High
Fourth-ranked Stoney Creek will advance to Tuesday’s regional semifinal at an undetermined location against Grand Blanc, which won its district Saturday with a 4-3 victory over Lake Orion.
For Houghton, who was a backup quarterback on the Cougars’ football team last year as a junior, it was the moment of his senior season.
“He’s been thrown into the fire this season,” said Stoney Creek coach Adam Bican of Houghton. “Nobody wants it more than that kid. He probably read it. His transformation into a top-notch goalkeeper has been absolutely wonderful and it's because of his hard work and dedication."
In an extremely even game in the state’s toughest district, Houghton came through with the deciding play.
“My teammates told me they needed someone to come in and play goalie,” said Houghton, a converted goalkeeper. “These guys worked with me every day. I couldn’t even kick the ball before, but now we're out here and we're district champions. It’s all hard work. It was our goal to win (the district).”
Stoney Creek (15-2-7) posted a 4-3 edge in the penalty kick shootout, as Adams misfired on its second and fifth shooters. Jack Sobbczynski was credited with decisive goal in the shootout.
(Dan Stickradt is Senior Editor for Digital Daily www.northoaklandsports.com and The Real Deal sports and coupons magazine, as well as a freelance writer for multiple media outlets, including State Champs! High School Sports Show website. He is a 20-year veteran sports journalist based in Oakland County, Mich. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @LocalSportsFans.)
It marks Stoney Creek’s first district title since 2004, when the Cougars’ reached the Division 2 state title game.
The game remained scoreless for more nearly 68 minutes before Adams (10-7-5) took a 1-0 lead. Pushed up from the backfield, senior Evan Skiff laced a left-footed shot off a pass from junior Patrick Spike that snuck inside the far post with 12:12 to play.
Stoney Creek knotted the game at 1-1 apiece on a goal by sophomore Federico Kulyckyj. Senior Billy Kobus’ long serve into the box from 40 yards out was headed home by Kulyckyj with 9:18 left in regulation.
The teams ended up playing 100 minutes, including two 10-minute overtime periods, before deciding the game on penalty kicks.
“It’s hard to decide a game in a shootout because both teams played their hearts out,” said Adams coach Adam Bican. “We have great respect for Rochester Adams, their players and coaching staff. It’s my favorite game of the year when we play them. That’s my alma mater, my second favorite team. I would have like to kept playing the game to determine the winner. But this is how we ended it.”
Stoney Creek, which held a narrow 10-9 shots edge, including 7-4 with shots on frame, nearly took the lead in overtime when Kobus rang a shot off the crossbar than fell down to the goal line before being cleared away.
Adams defender Kevin Lencioni also cleared a shot off the goal line just before halftime. The youthful Highlanders, who lost several players to both graduation and to the U.S. Soccer Academy, simply could not generate enough offense against one of the state’s top teams.
“We’re not disappointed in the effort at all,” offered Adams coach Josh Hickey. "Our boys fought as hard as they could and it just came down to (penalty kick. We had chances, hit the post on one and we got saved on the other one. Sometimes it just doesn't go your way. Congrats to Stoney (Creek).”